Friday Discussion: Our Favorite Album Artwork

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 16, 2013

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Album artwork can have a large impact on the way we view the albums we loves, so we thought it’d be a great idea to do a new PropertyOfZack Friday Discussion on Our Favorite Album Artwork brought to you by POZ team members. Check out our Discussion below and feel free to reblog with some of your favorite album artwork!

Descendents - I Don’t Want to Grow Up
This may not be the most “artsy” or “deep” album artwork, but that’s exactly why I like it. Milo is more or less the face of the band — he’s recognizable, renowned, and arguably one of the most favored and widely used band “logos” (for a lack of better term) in the alternative/punk music scene. The band created a simple way to distinguish themselves, and I really dig that. The I Don’t Want To Grow Up cover featuring little Milo is my favorite, simply because it is not only my favorite release from the band, but also how I feel about life in general about 98 percent of the time. He appears to look more adolescent on this cover in obvious harmony with the album title. It’s a really simple cover picture, but is still highly recognizable and straight to the point.- Brittany Oblak

blink-182 - Enema of the State
Truth be told, the only reason I ever gave this album a chance to begin with was the scantily-clad nurse on its cover. I remember skimming through my best friend’s older brother’s CD collection one afternoon, only to have my eyes fall upon Enema of the State. True, nowadays, a little cleavage is hardly enough to raise an eyebrow, let alone enough to leave your jaw on the floor, but when you’re an 11-year-old boy whose hormones are just starting to run rampant, Enema’s artwork was a sight to be seen.

That very same artwork would end up plastered across teenage boys’ bedrooms worldwide (mine included) when the blink-182 takeover began. It was crude, colorful, and it depicted the trio’s vulgarity down to a T. It also featured the band’s iconic pill logo, an instantly recognizable trademark prior to the birth of the band’s signature smiley face.

Disclaimer: If you’re at all curious what the well-endowed cover model looks like today in the year 2013, on behalf of all of us here at POZ, I’d recommend you steer clear.- Brandon Allin

Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
In selecting Blue Sky Noise, what I’m really doing here is giving Esao Andrews, the unofficial concept artist for almost anything Circa Survive has ever done, a lifetime achievement award. Andrews’ artwork is always so spot-on with the sounds of each album Circa has released, it’s almost as if he’s a member of the band himself. So why Blue Sky Noise, you ask? Because, personally, I think it’s his most intricate piece, and the one that is the most open for interpretation. 

What do you make of the boy in the foreground? Is the look in his eyes one of concern, or disinterest? What happened to the skin on his right arm? Is the monster a literal monster, or the boy’s inner demons hovering over him? There’s so much going on in this piece, and just like Blue Sky Noise, it’s as beautiful as it is striking. Esao Andrews’ artwork has always helped to separate Circa Survive from the pack in terms of artistic vision, and it’s never been more apparent than on Blue Sky Noise.- Donald Wagenblast

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
By any measurable means, the cover of Born To Run (1975 // Columbia Records) has become as iconic as the album itself. Certainly one of the most important rock and roll albums of all time and certainly the album that broke Bruce Springsteen into mainstream success, Born To Run has often been imitated but never duplicated. The same can be said in a more lighthearted sense about the album cover, which has been mimicked many times – on covers as wide-ranging as Sesame Street’s Born To Add to Cheap Trick’s Next Position Please.

The album’s front cover depicts a moppy-haired Springsteen wearing a weathered deep white V-neck and black leather jacket, a staple look for him from his 1973 debut Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s before culminating with his transformation into the more clean-cut, lean-mean-rock-and-roll-machine image that helped usher in the Born In the U.S.A. album cycle its global successes. Springsteen’s “look” in the Born To Run era can’t be considered complete without including his Fender Esquire, a classic guitar that has all but served as the embodiment of rock and roll in JPG format for the past 30 years. 

Springsteen is leaning on the shoulder of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who isn’t fully visible on the front cover but can be seen in full view once the album jacket is folded out. Clemons’ muscular build, black leather pants and hat are indicative of the man’s knack for dressing well throughout the lifetime of the E Street Band, and the full image of Springsteen leaning on Clemons has only become more adored by longtime fans after Clemons’ passing in 2011. The image is perhaps a perfect representation of the two men and their well-documented friendship, captured in a single frame by photographer Eric Meola – who took over 900 shots in three hours before settling on this one. - Thomas Nassiff

Mastodon - Crack the Skye
I may be a punk kid at heart, but when it comes to album art, I can’t help but acknowledge that metal (particularly progressive-metal) takes the cake. Whether it’s Kvelertak’s self-titled, Tool’s Lateralus, or anything that Baroness’ John Baizley has come up with, metal albums are always visually mesmerizing. At the top of my list is Mastodon’s 2009 magnum opus Crack The Skye. 

As with their previous three albums, the prog-metal giants from Atlanta worked with artist Paul Romano to capture the themes present in the album’s intricate narrative of a quadriplegic boy who masters astral projection and is transported back to tsarist Russia. With such an artfully crafted album, it only makes sense that the cover art would follow suit and Romano does a perfect job accentuating the complex cosmic and spiritual tropes present in the album’s music and lyrics; the artwork for this album is nothing short of stunning.- Zac Lomas

Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview
With bold strokes, film noir sentiment, and paying brilliant homage to classic Dick Tracy comics (does anyone actually remember Dick Tracy?), Steve Vance’s work on Less Than Jake’s Hello Rockview cover and liner notes is a tip-of-the-hat send-off to comic book culture. The cover, featuring a well-dressed businessman barreling headfirst into a pool, is striking and sharp, but the real magic in the art comes from Vance’s reimagining of Hello Rockview’s lyrics. 

Each track gets its own series of panels, and Vance transformed the lyrics into bursts of dialogue and thought bubbles. The cartoony elements fit perfectly with the lighthearted feel of the album, but it’s almost daring how far Vance went to make the liner notes feel like a genuine comic book.  - Erik van Rheenen

Dashboard Confessional - So Impossible EP
There’s something beautiful about the simplicity of two white figures behind a washed out, baby blue background. I think this is a reflection of the EP, as the songs convey the simplest feelings as their inner complexity is broken down with an acoustic guitar.  - Sydney Gore

Weezer - Hurley
I never appreciated the cover art for Weezer’s Hurley until I watched Lost for the first time last year. Yeah I know, I was super late to that party, but better late than never, right? For those who have never seen the show, Hurley is the lovable yet often self-deprecating provider of comic relief and heart-wrenching moments alike. Not a bad cover art selection for everyone’s favorite nerdy rock band.  - Becky Kovach

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    I contributed a bit about Born To Run! Click through to read it, I really enjoyed writing about that album art.
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